Wednesday, April 3, 2013

... Electric beards of Blues : INTERVIEW with GEEZER !!!

Despite the fact that I'm listening music, daily with passion, for about 35 years now, my knowledge of Blues music has always been very very limited...For various reasons (ignorance, lack of culture and legacy, absence in the musical medias, etc...),  for me -like certainly for a great part of European Metallers- the style was often just related to familiar names who had bluesy influences like Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Jimmy Hendrix or eventually ZZ Top, but  never to its real roots - could they be black or white...
For a few weeks, GEEZER (from Kingston -NY) have  revealed  themselves as the missing link to my doomed ears, a supercharged Bar-band that pays hommage to the roots of Blues with an amazingly HEAVY approach and gives you a real envy to deepen forward  your knowledge for the genre.
Authentic and full of badass verve, Pat Harrington and his two buddies deliver some filthy grooves with an infectious feel like you've undoubtedly rarely heard before !!! I felt urgent and essential to know more about this sound and asked Pat for a basic interview which he brilliantly made deeply interesting with a cool and noteworthy enthusiasm... Don't miss out this very particular band who has a lot of projects to come as you'll quickly note :

Hi Pat… thanx for answering the following few questions for T.o.P. !  First, briefly or not, could you present us  the band (creation, line-up, etc… ) ? Was the trio formula the one you wished or did it happen this way  after various circumstances ?
The band is Chris Turco on drums, Freddy Villano on bass guitar and me, Pat Harrington on guitar and vocals. The band kind of came together organically, Turco and I met in the summer of 2010… by summer of 2011 we recorded about 40 jams, which then were pretty much whittled down into what became the core of Handmade Heavy Blues. Freddy and I have been playing together for over 10 years, so bringing him into the mix was a natural and easy fit, I knew he would complete the sound, so to speak. There is no need for anyone else; the sound is what it is.
I guess it didn’t came suddenly after having heard the last Graveyard album (!), so how did you come to Blues ? Do you try to find a right balance between bluesy and heavy sounds or does it all come naturally with your different backgrounds and influences ?
A few years ago, I rediscovered the old, pre-war Mississippi Delta slide guitar blues and became infatuated with it. For the first time, I really focused on learning the technique of how to play that stuff… the different tunings, fingerpicking, slide technique… that’s pretty much all I focused on for a few years, Charley Patton, Son House, Robert Johnson. When Turco and I decided to get together to play, we wanted to see what it would sound like if we took that slide technique and applied it to a heavy context. From the first day, we knew we stumbled upon something different… actually it was that same familiar stuff, just a new application of it. Once Freddy got involved, it all clicked rather quickly. It really was a new adventure for all of us, we all kind of had to re-learn how to play our instruments in this setting… the sound was born from that.

When you found that album title - which is by the same occasion the best possible definition of your musical style, did you immediately think this was a brilliant idea and said something like ‘YES we’ve got it, now  let’s  party all night long’ ?!!! Do you see any possible reason why this label would not remain attached to the name of GEEZER in the future ?

We actually had a completely different title and album concept while we were working on it. I even initially wanted to break it all up into two EPs. But the music kind of dictated the terms. I was putting together promo copies for a trip I was making down South and I thought, well we need to explain to people what this sounds like… it’s the inevitable question! Then it just popped in my head, Handmade Heavy Blues, that’s what the band sounds like! That’s what the band is! No further explanation necessary.
As for the future, who knows? The blues are our vocabulary, but how we decide to use that down the road is anybody’s guess. We have already recorded some new material that is definitely blues-based, not sure if people will consider it blues though. I’m not really concerned with which box we fit in or fall out of; we just want to focus on making some cool fucking music, the kinda stuff that we want to listen to.

Wasn’t it too difficult to choose those covers from The Beatles and Muddy Waters in such extended repertories, or were those songs timeless classics you always wanted to play before any others ?

I picked the Muddy Waters song, it’s always been one of my favorites. It’s the same tune as Rolling Stone, but different lyrics. I always thought Still A Fool was a better version, a meaner version, a sexier version. So I brought it to the band with the idea of doing a long drawn out build until we hit the big jam at the end. For a while, they thought I was crazy and just played along, but when it finally clicked for everyone, it took off and now it is one of our favorite songs to play live.
The Beatles song was kind of an add on. One day, I was shuffling Beatles songs on my iPod and it came on. I thought, man this could be heavy… and I can sing this… and remember all the lyrics! It was a good intro for the band, a way of getting people to come to the stage at the shows… and a cool little number!
I’ve read in an Italian blog that you took the photo of the album cover during an influential trip in the Mississipi Delta you had last year… was the moment you choose closely related to the fact you were soon entering the studio for the album ?

I took the trip after we recorded the album. The photos were intended to just document the trip, but once the title “Handmade Heavy Blues” was discovered, the pictures became the perfect compliment to the title. It all happened coincidentally. None of these things were planned, they just kind of happened. I think that’s always the best art, when it just happens.
The building on the front cover is actually all that is left from the Abbay & Leatherman plantation where Robert Johnson grew up. However, the band picked that photo without even knowing that, they just thought it was the coolest one. The back photo is from an real Juke Joint in Clarksdale Mississippi, Red’s Juke Joint. I actually got to play a couple songs there and didn’t get thrown out on my ass, that’s when I knew I was on the right track!

It looks like you’re playing live regularly, how do you manage to find great dates
like the Eyes of the Stoned Goat fest with SSR bands like Lo Pan, Super Machine, etc… did the album already catch the attention of Small Stone rds or what ?! Sometimes bands feel  the need of a 2nd guitarist for live performances,  are you satisfied of the band’s sound on stage
In all honesty, we got on that gig because I am one of the producers, through Electric Beard Of Doom, my podcast on Grip Of Delusion Radio.  Not sure what SSR thinks of us, but I’m a fan of many bands on that label and we are thrilled to be a part of this show! I think every band on that bill kicks serious ass and I am super proud to be sharing the stage with them! I think Geezer will feel right at home amongst these giants!

I guess you already have some new tunes, can you speak about any please ? did you try them on stage yet or do you only play the album songs so far ?

Initially the idea was to do a new song for the upcoming Grip Of Delusion Compilation that is coming out later this month. We had a show a last month used the opportunity that day to do the recording. We ended up recording three new songs! Two of which we played for the first time on stage that night.  I came into the session with a few basic riffs, one became the song, “Thorny”, which is a dark, quiet acoustic number. The other became “Ancient Song”, which is the song we are releasing on the compilation. The third song, “Ghost Rider Solar Plexus”, I had developed the idea a bit more, had a basic arrangement… but we still just jammed on it and let it rip! It was one of those days, when everyone was at the top of their game and played their asses off! Maybe it was just the right combination of weed and coffee. The fourth song, “Dude, It’s Molecular” is actually a live recording of an improvisational jam we did at a show last fall. The recording came out pretty good and we loved the jam, so we decided to release it as is. All the tunes are loosely based on the blues, but as I said before, we’re changing our approach a little bit, maybe a bit more psychedelic, maybe a little darker, maybe a little heavier, you’ll just have to wait and see.
For now, the plan is to just do a digital release, probably in May or June. The name of the EP is “Gage” and we’re really excited about it. What happens after that is anybody’s guess…
It’s already cool to have seen a physical CD release of it but do you think there’s any chance to see a vynil release of the debut ?  How do you see the 2nd part of 2013 for Geezer ? by the way do you still have CDs and T-shirts for sale ?

Yes we still have Limited Edition CD’s and T-Shirts for sale on our Bandcamp page, digital downloads are free, for now. We are definitely looking to release the album on vinyl and are actively looking for a label to help us do that, so spread the word!
We’ve got some great gigs coming up this summer, including Eye Of The Stoned Goat 3 and we’re excited to be busy! As we discussed, we got a new EP coming out, possibly some cool videos in the works and more shows… so keep your ear to the rail and your nose to the grindstone because Geezer’s just getting started!
You recently started a podcast aired on Grip Of Delusion radio called ElectricBeard of Doom”, is it Gary or someone who made a proposition that you accepted or you who decided to do this new stuff by yourself and submited the program to G.O.D. ? it seems to give equal place to Stoner  / Sludge / doom / PSyche … how do you prepare the content of each episode ?

Gary had posted on Facebook that he was looking for new people to contribute to GOD Radio. I was looking to get into something, so I contacted him. We exchanged a few emails, had a conversation and decided to give it a whirl… The Beard was born! It’s been a lot of fun and I’ve been overwhelmed by all the support I’ve gotten from the bands, podcasters, bloggers and the rest of the “DOOMiverse”! I’ve also been turned on to mountains of killer music so it’s all very artistically inspiring. I select the music based on what I dig, but I also pay attention to what other people are getting hip to and if I can get down with it, I’ll play it. I do try and have some sort of balance between all the sub-genres, but that’s not the driving factor. Whatever my personal preferences are, ultimately, I’m trying to entertain people, so that is always goal number one.
Thank you for your continued support! Getting to know people like you and discovering killer blogs like Temple Of Perdition is what makes this whole thing a blast!

No comments:

Post a Comment